Keep your A1C in the target zone

If you have diabetes, one way to take charge of your health is to understand the importance of an A1C test and what your target zone should be.

Everyone likes to be in control of their own health. When you have diabetes and have your blood glucose levels in control the complications that can occur with uncontrolled diabetes are much less likely to happen. Managing blood glucose, which is the same as blood sugar, is essential to someone with diabetes. One way to take charge of your own health is by keeping your A1C level in the target zone.

A1C or, average glucose, is the formal name for the test that is used to monitor blood glucose levels of those with diabetes over time. A1C is a blood draw taken at your doctor’s office, clinic or hospital lab. The A1C test gives a picture of the average amount of glucose in the blood over the last few months, usually the last two to three months.

It is important to good health of diabetics to have blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. A1C test results can give you an idea of how well you are managing your diabetes blood glucose. This helps to minimize the complications caused by chronic elevated glucose levels such as damage to body organs including eyes, kidneys, nerves and the cardiovascular system.

The A1C can help you and your doctor to know how well you are controlling your diabetes. The higher your A1C level the poorer your blood sugar control. The American Diabetes Association recommends testing your A1C at least twice a year. Depending on your doctor, A1C may be measured two to four times each year.

According to The National Diabetes Information Clearing House (NDIC) normal blood glucose for someone without diabetes is 5.7 percent. To be diagnosed with diabetes the A1C would be 6.5 percent or above. The NDIC recommends that a general A1C target should be below 7 percent. You and your doctor should decide on the target that is right for you.

Although an A1C test is very important it should not replace the daily self-testing of blood glucose. Hitting the target of anything means aiming for the bull’s eye or focusing in on the ultimate goal. Those with diabetes need to know what they are aiming for with their A1C level. You and your health care team can work toward reaching your target A1C percentage and keeping it in an acceptable range.

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